Why do other faiths believe we have pagan roots?

I work with a lady who is Jehovah’s Witness. She is one of the most kind hearted people I have met, and we both respect each other’s faiths. She has never once tried to shove her beliefs down my throat. However, today we had a patient come in who is Jewish, and they had a very lengthy conversation about how our Catholic beliefs about the Trinity and Mary, among other things, are rooted in paganism. This is not the first time I have heard this, but I am still unsure why people of other faiths believe this. She also mentioned that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are the religion that most resembles the Jewish faith, and she really felt that this conversation with this man validated her beliefs.

Why is it that so many people of other faiths feel our religion has pagan roots?

:popcorn:

Frankly…because they have to find a reason to discredit the church. They cannot get around that it existed since the first century. So it’s either the church of Christ (which means their church is not) or they were a pagan creation around the same time as Christ and the “real church” looked like theirs does.

So it’s a desperate attempt to discredit so that their tradition gains authority

Is Catholicism Pagan?

catholic.com/tracts/is-catholicism-pagan

Peace,
Ed

Because the pagan Gods and rituals were a major influence at that time when Jesus lived, and then as Christianity developed.
The celebration of Christmas, for example, has it’s roots in the pagan festival of the winter solstice and celebration of the Sun God–which was celebrated at that time in December with many similar rituals.
But on a more serious note, to take the trinity for example…pagans had more than one “god” while Judaism had only one “god”.
And the idea of a “triple deity” has been around a long time.
In Greek mythology, for example,the “triple goddesses” always showed the three goddesses together as a single deity.
In 14 Century BC, the Egyptians had a trinity God: “All Gods are three: Amun, Re, Ptah.”

There are many examples of triple deities in different cultures and religions before Christianity developed.
If you google “history of trinity” you will find many theological and historical articles that will answer the question you pose.

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well, as an example, Christmas and Halloween contain traditional elements with pagan roots, and from the perspective of Jehova’s Witnesses specifically, those are two holidays they do not celebrate precisely for that reason. Of course this is false reasoning because just because some pagan traditions may have crept into the celebration of these holidays, it doesn’t take away from their true meaning (it’s also likely that this was done purposely by the Church in order to Christianize and convert pagans).

No, the original textual evidence from the early Church Father does not support that argument. Quite the opposite in fact. If the early Church decided to try to add pagan traditions (which they uniformly believed to derive from the worship of demons, and thus anathema) to attract converts, there should be some sort of evidence in the writings of the early Church Fathers of such a policy. None exists. This leaves us with the only possible conclusion that this theory is a fantasy.

we built our holy catholic faith on the rubbles of the roman paganism

we re-adopted some of their temples, molded some of our feast days based on pagan calendar

and essentially made perfect what the pre-enlightened roman empire pagans had started

nothing wrong with taking the best of a broken pagan culture and perfecting it

My whole family are JWS and tbey think everyone but them is pagan. They are a heretical cult

the theory is not that pagan traditions were added to attract converts. The theory is that the dates for Christmas and Halloween were chosen in order to co-opt pagan holidays and thus make it more palatable for potential converts to leave their old beliefs behind. and yes, there is no proof of this…that’s why it’s just a theory!

No. Yours is a common misconception. The celebration of the Nativity on December 25 predates the earliest proclamation of the Feast of Sol Invictus, which was an attempt by the Neoplatonists to copy the popularity of the rising Christian movement.

But on a more serious note, to take the trinity for example…pagans had more than one “god” while Judaism had only one “god”.
And the idea of a “triple deity” has been around a long time.
In Greek mythology, for example,the “triple goddesses” always showed the three goddesses together as a single deity.
In 14 Century BC, the Egyptians had a trinity God: “All Gods are three: Amun, Re, Ptah.”

There are many examples of triple deities in different cultures and religions before Christianity developed.
If you google “history of trinity” you will find many theological and historical articles that will answer the question you pose.

Yeah, if it is bad history and worse theology. The Egyptians did not consider their various triune gods as three persons in one God, but as a trio of gods. That’s just nonsense from the JW followers.

We also lack any primary textual evidence from the Early Church Fathers indicating a desire to adopt a purported earlier triune God, so any claims to the contrary are not supported by evidence. Instead, we find the ECF trying to wrap their heads around an essentially unexplainable concept in scripture, and spent a lot of time and effort trying to understand it, and to make sure that the early Church did NOT misunderstand the concept of the Trinity - No, they said, the Trinity is not 3 gods, like the Egyptians claimed - scripture does not support that claim. No, they said, Jesus was of the same substance as God the Father, he was not a human being alone, nor was he spiritual being who only pretended to have physical form (St. Nicholas refuted this claim by knocking out its chief proponent, at Nicaea.). No, God was not half man and half God, he was fully both God and Man.

This understanding came not from adopting an earlier pagan conception, but by a careful examination of scripture and the Deposit of Faith from the apostles, and trying to parse it out. We can trace its evolution of understanding, for which we do have evidence. We do not have that kind of evidence trail for your theory.

This was an understanding of God that was unique in human history.

It’s a false theory, then, and we should try for a better understanding of real history. Halloween was chosen from among several dates used by the early Church to commemorate the martyrs of the Church. November 1 was chosen because it was used by the Church in Germany, which had no knowledge of the pagan trade festival of Samhain - which didn’t even have a religious significance to the pagan Celts, anyway. It was the time when livestock came down from the highlands and was thus a convenient time to slaughter cattle, have tribal and clan meetings, sell goods, etc. Samhain just means “November.” There is no historical evidence that the selection of Germany’s observance of All Saints Day had any relation to paganism.

The date of December 25 was chosen prior to any of the Neoplatonist attempts to co-opt the Christian holiday, and by the time the Emperor Aurelian declared Sol Invictus as a new holiday in response to the Christian observance, Romans were already converting in huge numbers due to other societal factors like the witness of Christian charity during the Plague of Cyprian. Why would the Church need to adopt a pagan festival, particularly one they felt was based on the worship of demons (in the writings of the ECF)?

She used Constantine as one of the examples of using Christianity as a cover up for paganism. Gosh I wish I knew more so I could explain it to her.

Well, Witnesses (I refuse to use the “J” word because The Name should never be pronounced) are squirrels anyway, so please disregard whatever they have to say!

Not always, no: Pausanias (Description of Greece 2.30.2) refers to Alkamenes (C5th BCE) as having been the first to represent Hekatē in her triple form, and I cannot find any reference to any such images of her which predate that. Further, Hekatē is not three gods at this point: Pausanias says “three conjoined statues of Hekatē”. When the Romans pick up the idea, she is still one personality, but with three bodies (which may have been about her role as god of crossroads).

In 14 Century BC, the Egyptians had a trinity God: “All Gods are three: Amun, Re, Ptah.”

That one gets even trickier, doesn’t it? Amun, Re, and Ptah could be regarded as versions of one, but so were Horus and Re, Horus and Osiris, not to mention various permutations of Horus, Osiris, Isis, Anubis, and Set. What the Egyptians had was not a trinity but a fluid demarcation of boundaries among a large group.

Further, the Greek and the Egyptian gods were pantheons, making certain conjunctions among the individual members quite normal. Christianity’s idea of the trinity, in contrast, is sufficiently different as to have confused the ancient Romans and Greeks, and Muslims down through the ages.

While I certainly would not want to claim that Christianity has no connection with non-Christian belief systems (particularly via early Jewish belief and Hellenic belief), the trinity is not one which I have seen well demonstrated.

It’s difficult to say how these things start and then carry on. As someone else said, some people just have to try to find something - anything - to try to discredit the Church.

The assertion that Catholicism has "agan roots is similar to the argument that the church teaches a “works based” theology. Each tries to make something foundational that is not foundational.

If someone says to me that Catholicism is “works based” I simply discredit this by sharing that this is not supported by Church teaching. That our foundation is faith in Christ, not works. Christ is the foundation. Everything else is based on that. Therefore, while works are an important aspect of our lives ad Catholics, we are not ‘works based’.

Similarly, the idea that we are pagan based just because we happen to have aspects similar to ancient pagan faiths is turning Catholic theology on it’s head. Sure we celebrate the nativity at the time of the winter solstice. Sure celebrate all saints day around the same time as an ancient pagan day to worship ancestors. Sure out theology about the Godhead is complicated and might have similarities in ancient pagan beliefs.
So what?
The bottom line, and this is borne out in all Church teaching is that our faith lies in God the Father and in Jesus Christ His son. All the rest is built on this.

On another note…I find this quite interesting from your post…
“She also mentioned that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are the religion that most resembles the Jewish faith, and she really felt that this conversation with this man validated her beliefs.”
The Jews believe in a single God, and yet in the JW translation of the bible, the very beginning of John’s Gospel, they refer to Jesus, the “Word”, as “a god”, not as God. Thus they imply that there are multiple gods. This is most definitely NOT what the Jews believe.

Just some thoughts.

Peace
James

The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic faith will always be attacked, because Satan hates the truth and incites others to detraction of the truth.

Find a good orthodox Jewish Rabbi who knows about the Mass and see what he has to say.

Does this principle apply to all faiths that are misrepresented or slandered by others or only to Catholicism?

“There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church,
but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.
…As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church,
we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.”

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

In other words, most accuse us out of ignorance. They have no idea of what they are talking about and they do not take the time to find out the truth.

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